settlements israel

Israel News for June 20, 2016

Settlement Budget
The government has approved a NIS 72 million budget for the security of settlements in Judea and Samaria. But not all the money is going to “security”. Funding is allocated for construction, education, economic development and tourism.

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Shabbat Busing
Last week we told you about a proposed bill in the Knesset that would allow local authorities to allow public buses to operate on Shabbat. Yesterday the Knesset Ministerial Legislation Committee rejected the bill.

YeshAtid MK Yael German, who sponsored the bill, said, “We won’t give up. We’ll submit the bill again in six months, and again in a year, and again and again until it passes. The current situation is discriminatory. Public transportation on Saturday is a social matter. It’s for young people and adults who don’t have cars, and for people who can’t afford to run a car.”

The presence of the religious parties in the coalition makes passing the bill nearly impossible.

By law, the Ministry of Transport is obligated to allow the local authorities to operate public transportation on the Sabbath. However, Section 386A of the Traffic Ordinance states that a license to operate a public bus on the day of rest will not be granted, except in certain cases, including rides to hospitals, border communities, and non-Jewish communities, plus transportation essential for public security or essential for the existence of public transportation.

Last week the Herzliya municipality announced that it would begin limited public transportation on Shabbat. Will it be overruled by the government?

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Modesty Signs
The Jerusalem District Court gave Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul three weeks to remove “modesty” signs that warn women to dress according to Haredi norms of dress or to keep off sidewalks near synagogues and yeshivas where men tend to congregate.

The court ruling upholds a 2015 ruling by a lower Beit Shemsh court ordering the signs and removed and compensation paid to the plaintiffs.

In 2013, the Israel Religious Action Center, the advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel, filed suit against the municipality and the mayor on behalf of four Orthodox women, all residents of Beit Shemesh, for refusing to remove the signs as required by a government report published that year.

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Iron Dome
After its incredible success at protecting Israel from Hamas missiles, you’d think that the Iron Dome missile defense system would be sought after by other countries. Despite lots of interest and speculation, not a single sale of the system has been made. That’s probably because no other country is being subjected to missile attacks against it, or even the threat of missile attacks. And if it were, it would probably go to war to destroy the aggressor. That would make perfect sense, except when the country subjected to the attacks is Israel.

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Olympic Hopefuls
Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team has raised hopes for Israeli medal success at the upcoming Rio summer olympics. The team won the gold medal in the clubs and hoops category at the European Championships, which are being held in Holon, Israel. The team also won a silver medal for their ribbons routine and a bronze in the all around competition.

Meanwhile, a Syrian boxer bowed out of a qualifying round for the Olympics in Azerbaijan, to avoid fighting an Israeli boxer.

The boxer, Ala Ghasoun, told Arab media, ”I quit the competition because my rival was Israeli and I cannot shake his hand or compete against him while he represents a Zionist regime that kills the Syrian people. If I fight against him, it would mean that I, as an athlete, and Syria, as a state, recognize the state of Israel.”
Ghasoun added that “the decision to quit was not mine” but mandated by senior Syrian officials and the Syrian Sports Federation.

The Israeli boxer moved up to the next qualifying round. And yes, Syria actually has an olympic team.

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Error Correction
Last week we reported about an Israeli judge who permitted a class action suit against Facebook to be heard in an Israeli court. The suit is for $400 million — not $400. The entire process could take years to play out in court.

New Holiday
The Knesset has approved a new holiday: Aliyah Day. The bill was spearheaded by the Tel Aviv Internationals organization led by American Oleh and activist Jay Shultz.

Shultz said, “Aliyah Day is an opportunity for the State of Israel to reach out to all Jews across the world, and to say that Israel is more than a place to consider living; Israel is their home. For us, young immigrants have a lot of strength, and Aliyah is something that we are extremely proud of. We come to Israel in order to give. We choose to be pioneers and we feel a lot of pride about this. It is a good thing that now the State of Israel will dedicate an official holiday to Aliyah.”

The holiday will be observed in the Hebrew month of Nissan, at the start of spring.

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